Floris Winckel (München)

The Visual Culture of Studying Snowflakes


Ort: Historicum K 327

Zeit: 16-18 Uhr

Snowflakes are hard to picture. They are small, transparent, ephemeral, and usually occur in conditions not conducive to close observation. Yet scientists have been picturing these objects for centuries, developing methods and strategies for overcoming such difficulties. These include designing tools for making them look larger (e.g. microscopes), less ephemeral (e.g. cold rooms), or simply making them on demand (e.g. cloud chambers). They also include using techniques to shorten the time it took to picture them, like using photo cameras, or using symmetry to complete quick and incomplete drawings. This talk will provide an overview of the ways in which the materiality of snowflakes, ideas about nature, and the tools used to study it have shaped the visual culture of snowflake science over the past four centuries. Examining this history offers a long-term perspective on visualisation practices in observational science.

Vortrag im Rahmen des Oberseminars "Perspektiven der Wissenschaftsgeschichte".